802.11a and b wireless LAN equipment has proven to be a very useful and a low cost way to setup networks over distance and is commonly used by many individuals, community groups and small businesses.
However for most setting up a wireless network for the first time, one major hurdle that will almost always comes up is the problem of establishing good LOS between sites. LOS or Line of sight is a very important consideration, as without it, it would be impossible to establish a reliable network connection over a few hundred metres regardless of the antenna, equipment or mast deployed.
This is because the high frequency and low power of most standard wireless devices 802.11(a/b/g) is unable to pass through a solid object without a significant reduction and dissipation of the signal.
Where as good LOS it is not uncommon to see links established over 10kms with sustained data rates exceeding 18Mbps in 802.11a Unfortunately, in the real world good LOS between different locations is a rare coincidence for individuals working on their own and it is for this reason many community groups like Air-Stream Wireless have been formed.
By establishing a group, members can help each other by establishing a shared network where specific sites with good LOS become the relay points for others without good LOS consequently overcoming many topographical barriers that an individual would find difficult to overcome on their own.